Sands optimistic about this season
President of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations(BAAA)Mike Sands has high expectations for this year’s track and field season. He believes that elite, junior and youth track and field athletes will have a stellar year and will surpass 2010’s excellent showing on both the regional and international levels.
With three major championships scheduled, Sands said that it will be tight, in terms of finances, so the executives are hoping to get a jump on that. The top meets this year are the International Association of Athletic Federations(IAAF) World Championships, the seventh edition of the IAAF World Youth Championships and the Jr. Pan American Games. The annual CARIFTA Track and Field Championships as well as the Youth Central American and Caribbean Games are on the calendar.
Sands said: ”Last year was a very, very good year when you look at all the outstanding performances that we had. If you talk to some of the senior athletes, they would say that it was an off-year for them because all of them like to focus on the World Championships. So they take the year before as a training process and ensure that they stay injury free. That year is also used by them to get in the type of shape they want to be in for the upcoming season. Now if you say that last year was an off-year and we had a very good year, then I would expect that this is going to be a top flight season. This year is going to be that much better than last year. We wil see a lot of high level competitions, times and marks.
“The finances are always a problem. It is the most singular problem that any federation has with respect of being able to operate. The BAAA, in this instance, needs a half million dollars just for international team travels. So yes, finances are a problem. We are concern about the abilities to raise the necessary funds. We are diligently seeking funding. We have a finance and a fundraising committee, so every opportunity that I have, I will ask corporate Bahamas and individual citizens to assist us with our fund raising efforts. When we do come to you, you will see and appreciate the work that is being done with our program. It is not just about track and field, but being able to expose the young people to the opportunities.”
Once again, this year’s focus of the BAAA is getting the four relay squads to qualify and compete in major meets. Sands said that will not be an easy task, but the BAAA is working diligently to accomplish that goal.
The IAAF World Championships is scheduled to take place in Daegu, Korea, August 27- September 4. Lile, France is the host country for the World Youth Championships. They will run July 6-10.